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News from India Newspaper (r)
"Suu Kyi holds major rally on unity holiday"
Rangoon, Feb. 12: Hundreds of Rangoon's poor flocked to democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, as Burma's junta leader used a national
unity holiday to demand a patriotic drive to crush her political
Opposition. Ms Aung San Suu Kyi handed out free rice to huge Union Day
crowds thronging the headquarters of her National League for Democracy,
Teams of security officials kept a close watch on the crowds, and
official photographers snapped pictures of supporters outside the
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi refrained from making an address to
avoid provoking authorities who had earlier tightened Rangoon' visible
security measure, witnesses said.
Across the city at an official ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of
Union Day, a key step on the road to independence from Britain, junta
leader Than Shwe called for the stamping out of dissent. He demanded an
effort to "oppose and crush destructionists from inside and outside the
nation who are disturbing and jeopardising the state, stability, peace
His words were an apparent reference to Ms. Suu Kyi, who is frequently
accused by the junta of conspiring with foreign powers against the
Than Shwe accused the Opposition of disrupting government efforts to
foster unity and prosperity. "Internal destructive elements are
blatantly transgressing, to break the national solidarity, using
external compradore axe-handle, to wreck the stable, peaceful, tranquil
and developing situation in the country," he said. Ms. Suu Kyi and her
National League for Democracy are frequently described as traitor and
"axe-handles" by the government and branded as traitorous conspirators
with foreign powers.
At the official ceremony in the shadow of Rangoon' towering golden
Shwedagon pagoda, a military band played the national anthem as the
Burmese flag was raised in front of thousands of people. Members of
Burma's many ethnic races attended the ceremony in the ceremony led by
Rangoon mayor Ko Lay.
Union Day marks the 52nd anniversary of the Treaty of Panglong, signed
by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's father General Aung San, who is revered as an
independence hero. The treaty, an agreement between the majority Burmese
population and ethnic groups paved the way for independence from Britain
in 1948. (AFP)
"The Asian Age"
Date: February 13, 1999.